How crazy, I thought, to have my coach as my teacher. Now I wouldn't say it was a worry, but it placed me in a situation where I needed to set standards for myself. In this scenario, Coach Herriot is both my history teacher, as well as my track coach.
In the classroom, I needed to understand that my perceptions of the kid I am were not just illustrated out on the track, but also in school, where I defined myself. Sophomore year at Arrowhead Union High School was a blast because I was able to build my relationships with my coach in class.
For me, I stressed myself out and worried about what grade I received on every assignment, test, or quiz. I plopped myself into the mindset of achieving excellence in everything. But most of why I excelled was from Mr. Herriot’s efforts. He helped me to better understand material, and expanded upon different scenarios from past history with examples. I most definitely envision him as a mentor.
Moving to Wisconsin my freshman year was difficult. I had no friends and I felt a sense of loneliness. To me, busy hallways appeared as dark valleys. I felt alone and didn't bother to open my mouth. Yet as time went on, I knew I needed to make a change. Envisioning every possibility of becoming more outspoken and confident, I joined sports, specifically track and field.
Let me just say it was a life changing experience. Coach Herriot and his staff felt for me and understood my nerves. Day in and day out, they wanted to know more about me and my past. But most importantly, they welcomed me with open arms. They all understood the situation I was in, and guided me to friendships among other athletes, some of my best friends to this day. None of this would have been possible without Coach Herriot.
With time quickly passing, I fast forward to one of the most joyful, rewarding, and exciting days of my life. Proudly standing, soaked with all of my supporting teammates, as the Track & Field State Champions in UW-Lacrosse. I thought back to times of discomfort during practice and times of weakness; it had now all paid off.
Looking out of the corner of my eye, I saw Herriot raining tears. The happiness and fulfillment of such a large achievement was awarded to one of the most caring, hard-working, and special coaches I’ve run for.
Recently, a very emotional situation occurred when my grandma passed. With tears dripping down my face, I texted Coach the following: “Hey Coach. I wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to attend both practice tomorrow or the meet Saturday. I was told very difficult news about my grandma who unfortunately passed just yesterday morning. I got back from Florida today and it’s been quite rough.” Seconds later my phone rings; the text reads: “I’m very sorry to hear that. You take care of the family and we will see you when you are ready.” Struggling as much as I was, hearing something so supportive and understanding sparked a smile.
With all that being said, I’m super thankful and pleased to hold the type of relationship my coach and I do today. Thanks, Coach Herriot, for your efforts not only in the classroom, but also out on the track! I look forward to chasing another ring.